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Alistair Fraser

Composer, Performer


Alistair Fraser is a widely respected player, composer, and researcher of ngā taonga puoro with a performance background that enables him to provide a sensitivity that suits the intimate nature of these remarkable instruments. He has been researching, making, performing and composing with ngā taonga pūoro since 1999 and in his time has worked in a diverse range of art forms with Aotearoa’s top arts practitioners.

In 2018 Alistair released his solo album Toitū Te Pūoro (Rattle Records) to wide acclaim and rave reviews. Also in 2018 Al released two collaborative albums, Ponguru and Shearwater Drift.

In 2018 Alistair toured the show Te Korekore with Chamber Music NZ during Matariki. He developed the show which included duo performances with double bassist Phil Boniface (Ponguru) and flutist Bridget Douglas (NZSO) with story telling by Rangimoana Taylor and video art by Ed Davis. Al Fraser and Bridget Douglas performed HineRaukatauri (Dame Gillian Whitehead) at Government House for the Arts Foundation Awards Ceremony in 2018 at the request of composer Dame Gillian Whitehead who received an Arts Icon award that evening.

In 2017, Alistair performed with Motu :: Oiléain (Trinity Roots with Irish Friends), STROMA, Bridget Douglas, New Zealand String Quartet, David Long and Natalia Mann (Utterance) and with the Waiata Māori Music Award nominated ensemble 'Auaha'. He is a member of ensemble 'Oro' who performed at the APRA Silver Scrolls 2017. His solo performances have gained wide acclaim. Alistair was a Wild Creations Artist Resident in 2011, a Churchill Fellow 2016 and is a researcher with Otago University.

In 2017 Alistair began his three year position as a researcher for Otago University looking at Moriori and Māori taonga pūoro from Rekohu/Chatham Islands. Also in 2017 Alistair was a kaiako (tutor) at a series of wānanga ‘Toku Reo, Toku Ohooho’ run by Horomono Horo, that focused on composing and playing with ngā taonga pūoro.

In 2016 Alistair performed with Patricia Grace and Aroha String Quartet for Chamber Music New Zealand’s 2016 Matariki Celebrations Te Marama, which featured his joint composition with Warren Warbrick for taonga pūoro, Te Marama. Alistair performed solo at CubaDupa, Coastella Music Festival, Dowse Art Gallery, and Opihi Taniwha Rock Art site for Ngai Tahu’s Te Ana Rock Art Museum Waitangi Day festivities. Also in 2016 Alistair composed a work for taonga puoro and electronica Wai=Rua for the dance/theatre work Wai=Rua A Line=Near by Marty Roberts and Rua McCallum.

Other performances of note are Museums After Dark at Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (May 2015) and a season of This Other Eden (October 2014) an opera by Anthony Ritchie to which Fraser contributed ngā taonga pūoro parts. In December 2014 Alistair toured with Ngai Tahu songstress Ariana Tikao and Richard Nunns. Alistair performed and composed works with Jeremy Mayall during Mayall’s time as Mozart Fellow at Otago University (2014-2015) producing four co-composed works by Mayall and Fraser, Along the River Run, He Korokoro Tui, Otakou Lullaby and Still.

In 2014 Alistair was commissioned by Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision to compose a twelve-minute work to accompany a showing of archival footage of traditional food gathering that toured South Island marae as Te Waipounamu Marae Film Tour: Otautaki Ki Awarua. Also in 2014, Fraser composed a work for ngā taonga pūoro and vocal for Te Papa Tongarewa and Ngati Toa Rangatira’s exhibit at Te Papa Tongarewa Whiti Te Rā! This work was performed by Tāmihana Katene (taonga pūoro) and Wairere Ropata (vocal), both from Ngati Toa.

In 2013 Richard Nunns, Paddy Free and Alistair Fraser co-composed a 23-minute work for taonga pūoro and electronica for Orokonui Ecosanctuary. Alistair contributed taonga pūoro peformances with ensemble ‘Reo’ (Horomono Horo, James Webster, Charles Royal and Paddy Free) and arrangements at all of Charles Royal’s Te Whare Tāpere ki Waimango 2010-2014.

Composed (97)

He Kōauau Rākau

for taonga pūoro

He Puou

for taonga pūoro

He Puou, He Pūtōrino

for taonga pūoro

Awhi Rito

for taonga pūoro, 1m 38s


for taonga pūoro


for taonga pūoro, 1m 22s


for taonga puoro and keyboards, 4m


for taonga pūoro


for taonga puoro and double bass, 2m 35s

Cuming Museum Kōauau Tōroa LAB 1948

for taonga pūoro, 4m 53s

Cuming Museum Nguru Hue CO 47633

taonga pūoro, 3m 4s

Cuming Museum Nguru Niho Paraoa C.4734

for taonga pūoro, 4m 4s

Cuming Museum Pūtōrino C.4732

for taonga pūoro, 2m 28s

Doughboy Cave

for taonga pūoro, 3m 31s

E Rere

for taonga pūoro


for taonga puoro and keyboards, 5m 22s

Falling Shells

for taonga pūoro, 3m 43s


for tumutumu (taonga pūoro) and double bass, 2m 40s


for taonga pūoro


for taonga pūoro


for taonga puoro and spoken voice, 2m

He Nguru Kōhatu

for taonga pūoro

Hesitant Exploration

for taonga pūoro


for taonga pūoro


for kū (taonga pūoro) and double bass, 2m 5s

Kia hiwa rā

for taonga puoro, 1m 25s


for porotiti (taonga pūoro) and double bass, 3m 20s


for taonga pūoro


for taonga pūoro, 1m 33s


for taonga puoro and double bass, 3m 34s


for taonga puoro and double bass, 3m 22s

Land Thief

for taonga puoro and keyboards, 4m 30s

Mason Bay

for taonga pūoro, 3m 7s


for taonga pūoro and double bass, 3m 17s

National Museums Scotland Nguru 1994.1075

for taonga pūoro, 1m 34s

Nau mai e kā hua

for voice and taonga puoro, 3m 30s

Nga Pupu

for taonga pūoro, 1m 30s


for viola and taonga pūoro

Ngā pahū

for taonga puoro, 3m

North Mason Creek

for taonga pūoro, 2m 2s

Norwich SCVA Nguru Rākau

for taonga pūoro, 3m 8s


for taonga puoro and keyboards, 7m


for taonga pūoro

Pakuru Z 6437 A and B

for taonga pūoro, 50s


for taonga pūoro


2m 50s


for taonga pūoro and double bass, 3m 13s

for taonga pūoro, 2m 27s

Pūkāea E

for taonga pūoro, 4m 25s

Pūkāea E 1912.9 and Pūtōrino 1922.934

for taonga pūoro, 1m 36s


for taonga pūoro and double bass, 2m 57s

Pūtōrino 1922.934

for taonga pūoro, 2m 15s

Pūtōrino Suite

for taonga pūoro and double bass, 8m 32s


for taonga pūoro, 3m


for taonga pūoro

Root Cause

for taonga pūoro


for kōauau (taonga pūoro) and double bass, 2m 30s


for taonga puoro and keyboards, 5m 36s


for taonga pūoro and double bass, 1m 52s


for pūmotomoto (taonga pūoro) and double bass, 3m 5s


for taonga puoro and keyboards, 7m 45s

String Theory

for taonga puoro and keyboards, 3m 30s


for taonga puoro and keyboards, 4m 30s

Te Aitanga Pepeke

for taonga puoro and ensemble

Te Manga o te Whio

for taonga pūoro, 4m 50s

Te reo o te wai

for voice and taonga puoro, 2m


for ipu kōrero (taonga pūoro) and double bass, 3m 25s

Tito ohia poi āwhiowhio me kōauau

an improvisation for taonga puoro, 2m 30s

Tito ohia porotiti me kōauau

an improvisation for taonga puoro, 3m 40s

Tito ohia pūtōrino

an improvisation for pūtōrino, 3m 30s


for taonga puoro and keyboards, 4m 30s


for taonga pūoro


for taonga pūoro, 2m 10s

Performances (8)

New Zealand School of Music - Puoro

Join us to celebrate and resonate Māori Pasifika voices at Te Kōkī, in an afternoon of korero and...

STROMA | Sonic Portraits

An evening of intimate chamber music, with five exciting composers from NZ and overseas, in the b...

STROMA | Voices of the World

A rich collection of works inspired by non-Western musical traditions from around the world, incl...

Matariki Ritual | Matariki Hika Ahi

__Friday, 14 June__ | 7.00pm - 8.30pm __Saturday, 15 June__ | 7.00pm - 8.30pm ___ Nau ma...

Te Whironui Exhibition | Matariki Event

As part of the [__Te whironui exhibition__]( we welcome the public to...

Al Fraser and Phil Boniface | Ponguru

Al Fraser | __Taonga Puoro__ Phil Boniface | __Double Bass__ ___ 'Ponguru' is a conversati...

Te Wā Whakanui i a Matariki

Featuring the taonga puoro of __Alistair Fraser__ as well as live music and DJs from Shearwater D...

Tararua Album Launch Concert

Puaka by Tararua ___ __Oro Records__ is proud to present the world premiere of the full reperto...